Friday, November 27, 2009

Taking Spiderwick Chronicles a step further

Hello All,

We are in the midst of Spiderwick mania here. I am putting together a "field guide" and have some ideas for some other cool things.

Is anyone out there currently craving all things Spiderwick that would like to toss some ideas back and forth and perhaps share?

I have this idea about sending my kids "real" letters from a fellow "scientist" that includes different items that the kids can put in their field guides (like a feather that came from a griffin and scales from a dragon).

anyway please email me!

I created a Lens for this with my other ideas.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Confessions of an eclectic homeschooler..

Okay, I admit it. I am not the faithful type where homeschooling methods are concerned. I take bits and pieces from ANYTHING I think will be fun and engaging for the kids. This has lead me to tweak my homeschool approach a few times a year. Now, this definitely has pros and cons.

The best thing about learning so many different homeschooling methods and using them is that you really can “tailor” your child’s education to suit their learning styles, needs, and interests. I started with a mix of What Your _ Needs To Know books and Classical. My child did not thrive with the classical aspects of this arrangement. I agree that you should read unabridged classic literature, but most of the books in the outlines I saw at the time were so beyond his comprehension level that I spent more time explaining the text than reading.

When the WYNK/Classical education mix didn’t work I moved on. The next hybrid was WYNK series as a spine and a bit of Charlotte Mason. This worked well for us. Although, I still don’t adhere to them as a whole. It is kind of like me trying to use a recipe. For the life of me, I can not use one. I ALWAYS tweak the recipe! Hmm, I guess homeschooling is not the only area in my life I do this. Anyway, I love the WYNK series because it gives you a definite, “this is what _ graders should know”. I really needed this the first few years of homeschooling. Those books gave me a way to make sure that I covered all the topics “needed” for his grade. They also gave me a cheap way to get tons of subjects in one easy to use book. I think this will be the last year I will use the books (although I will still use the free lesson plans at ). I have the Core Knowledge Sequence which has an outline for each year to grade 8 and will use that instead.

The problem with researching so many different methods is second guessing yourself. This may not be a problem for some, but I find that I have issues with it. I research something and then think I am not doing everything I can or everything that my kids need. This becomes very stressful in trying to decide the “correct” course of action. Fortunately, I seem to have outgrown this. Yeah!

The future of homeschooling in our house is still unknown. My husband is not convinced in the “long haul”, so we have agreed to take it year by year. I do know that if I am still homeschooling in the next few years, I will be slipping in more of the Well Trained Mind concepts. Not as a whole (because it seems to intense to me), but mixed with Charlotte Mason, WYNK, workboxes, lapbooks, and anything else I pick up on the way.

Happy Homeschooling!

Workboxing with Charlotte Mason?

As my little princess approaches (Gasp!) kindergarten age, I am reveiwing my teaching techniques and rethinking things. I made mistakes with my son, as he was the homeschool guinea pig. Many of the teaching methods I used with him just will not fit with my attention span deprived daughter. My son would give me a solid 10-15 minutes of focus at her age. I am lucky to get her for 5 minutes.

So, I am wondering if anyone has had success with workboxes and Charlotte Mason Education?

I love a lot of Charlotte Mason's views and methods. I see Charlotte Mason education like the difference between gentling a horse rather than breaking it. CM's focus was on getting children to love learning, asking questions, and the avoidence of "spoon feeding" information.

Any thoughts on workboxes, Charlotte Mason, and combining the two would be most helpful. I will also post what I find and how I will impliment it.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Support the Troops!

Take some time out to do this!!!!

Xerox will print out a card you draft and send it to a serviceperson. It's FREE and only takes a moment.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Workbox: 1st grade, month 5

Okay, I am going to give you everything that I am using for this month in my son' s workboxes. I may find a "new" thing here and there to add, but basically this is it.

Everyday Boxes:
First Language Lessons, Levels 1&2
Math-U-See, Beta
Writing with Ease, Year 2
poem memorization
Phonics workbook, Level 2
Read-Aloud book by Mom, Beatrix Potter's Complete Collection of Stories
Science, Noctural Animals Unit Study
History/Geography, Lewis & Clark & Me Unit Study
Reading Pathways

Random Box Fillers:
dolch word crossword puzzles
Scarecrow Candy necklace
Paper-Strip Pumpkin
Tiger Scout handbook activities
1st Grade Map Skills, Teacher Created Resources
word search puzzles <
logic puzzles <
Halloween maze
Sparkly Spider web
*Remember to use contact paper over the finished project so you don't have glitter all over your house!
Pumpkin dot to dot < href="">
Drawing practice < href=""> and

Extra cards on schedule strip:
American Sign Language, finger spelling
Free reading
Lego time
Play Outside

Enjoy and please leave feedback!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Workbox Schedule sample 1

Okay, so I'm going to give you guys my first month of schedule strip activities. It may take me forever to write this! Kids are not in bed yet and I don't know how long they will be playing so sweetly together.

Black (Optimus, the "1st" grader), Blue (the preschoolers) some of the activities that are scheduled for "same" will be skipped if they are after Nap. If the kids are still sleeping when Optimus is reading then, I won't make him wait until they get up.

Sample Week 1

1. Math= Math-U-See*(in box) DVD with copy of worksheet and pencil.
=shape blocks.
2. Literature= *Work w/Mom card (cause I gotta read it), WYNK book. Will read: Who has seen the wind and How Iktomi lost his eyes.
3. Snack=Activity card on strip.
4. Bike=Activity card on strip.
=take a walk
5. Game=*Uno card game and Work w/Mom card.
=hungry hippos
6. File Folder=Not really a file folder game, but I don't have any of those made yet. *Pyramid Challenge
Book= 1 free choice each + The mitten (I had them make puppets on popscicle sticks last week)
7. Reading=*Reading Pathways book and a Work w/Mom card.
8. ASL= Group activity. Either review or Signing Time video.
9. Hist/Sci=*Lapbook pieces and reading selections for Ancient China unit and a Work w/Mom card.
Coloring= *coloring page of history topic or simple art project.
10. Art= Group Activity. *Watercolor paints, brush, and paper.
11. Language= *FLL book, WWE book, paper, pencil and months book.
=dry erase letter practice, alphabet song
12. Nature= *Nature journal, colored pencils, and sketching pencil.
Swing=Activity card on strip.

1. Nature= *Nature journal, colored pencils, and pencil.
Swing=activity card on strip
2. Math=*MUS worksheet, pencil, and DVD.
=work on number book.
3. Swing= Activity card on strip.
Outdoor= find three things that look like a circle, then swing.
4. Literature= *The Marvelous Land of Oz book and work/w mom card. I will read.
5. Snack= Activity card on strip.
6. Reading= *RP book and Work w/Mom card.
Puzzles= elephant, lion, monkeys board puzzles.
7. Music= Activity card on strip. Will play two or three classical pieces. Will ask him his thoughts on those, which he likes the best and why.
Nap=activity card on strip.
8. Hist/Sci= *Lapbook pieces and reading selections for Ancient China study.
Coloring= related activity to history topic.
9. Language= FLL book, WWE book, months book, and work w/mom card.
=dry erase letter practice. Letter coloring sheet
10. File Folders= *maze from
Books= 1 book of choice for each child.
11. Game= *jacks
12. Water Plants= activity card.

1. Math= MUS *lesson worksheet, pencil, and DVD
=math game from
2. Outdoor break=For this there will just be an outdoor activity card on the strip. I made my own. I am going to set up Optimus' tent in the backyard before he wakes up in the morning. It will be a surprise for all the kids.
3. ASL= Group. Activity card on strip.
4. Game= *chess piece from Star Wars chess.
5. Reading= RP book and Work w/ Mom card.
Puzzles= board puzzles
6. Language= FLL book, WWE book, pencil, months book, and Work w/mom card.
=dry erase letter practice, letter coloring page.
7. Snack= Activity card on strip.
8.Literature= *Marvelous Land of Oz and work w/mom card. I will read this.
9. Nature= *Nature journal, pencil, colored pencils.
10. Hist/Sci= *Lapbook pieces and reading selections for Ancient China study.
Coloring= topic related activity
11. Scooter= Activity card on strip.
12. Linny=Activity card on strip. This is the name of his guinea pig!

1. Swing=Activity card on strip
2. Math= MUS *worksheet, pencil, DVD
=number book from
3. Reading=RP book and work w/mom card.
Puzzles= printed puzzle for each
4. Nature= *journal, pencils, camera.
Outdoor= find four things that are square, swing.
5. Language=*FLL book, WWE book, paper, pencil, months book, and work with mom card.
=letter coloring page from
6. Game= *puzzle.
Puzzle= use my legos. Yes, i have my own
7. Literature= *Marvelous Land of Oz book.
8. Art= *origami puppy.
9. Snack=Activity card on strip.
10. Linny=Activity card on strip.
11. Hist/Sci= *Lapbook pieces and reading selections Ancient China. Work w/mom card.
=related activity
12. Legos=activity card on strip.
Books= their choice

1. Math= MUS *worksheet, pencil, DVD.
=math game
2. Music= Group activity. *movement songs. "ants go marching" and such.
3. Language= *FLL book, WWE book, pencil, paper, months book, and work w/mom card
=vowel sounds, alphabet game
4. Game= hot potato
5. Swing=activity card on strip.
6. Reading= *RP book and work w/mom card.
Puzzles= individual printed puzzles
7. Mail=Activity card. Email
8. Hist/Sci=*Lapbook pieces and reading selections Ancient China. Work w/mom card.
=related activity
9. ASL= Group activity. Activity card on strip.
10. Literature= *Marvelous Land of Oz book. work w/mom card.
11. Snack=Activity card on strip.
12. Nature=*journal, pencils.

There is one week (our first) of workboxes for a 6yr, 4yr, and 3yr old. I will be posting a sample week 2. I would love to have comments from seasoned users of this system!
take care~ Michele

I've moved!

I had been blogging for some time at
I have since moved to these new digs! I will leave everything up over there instead of moving all those posts.

My next few posts will be about Workboxes! I just bought the system this week and am going to impliment it on Monday. I'll post my schedule strips for my "1st" grader and my preschoolers. So, wish me luck with this! I am excited about this system. If you want to know more go here